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Experience Sonic Sensations With RjDj for iPhone

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Following in the ambient footsteps of Eno’s inaugural iPhone app, Bloom, comes RjDj. Developed by Reality Jockey, an Austrian dev outfit, they describe RjDj as, “the next generation of walkman or mp3 player… a digital drug which causes mind twisting hearing sensation.”

Wrapped up as a cute little iPhone toybox, RjDj is actually a platform for Reactive Sound Art. The “reactive” bit means that the app responds to sensory input. In the case of RjDj, this could find you jiggling, touching, tilting, shouting, murmuring, wiggling and generally seeking out all sorts of noises to generate entirely strange sonic experiences.

The app is split in to several different ‘scenes’, which are in essence very simple iPhone apps, providing different ways to create and interact with a selection of bold new soundscapes. Each scene handles your input in a different way; for example, Gridwalker plays an evolving, twinkling 8-bit melody, depending on how loud or quiet your environment is, while WorldQuantizer grabs noises and recycles them in to an organic rhythmic groove. There’s also a record function enabling you to hang on to your favorite RjDj sessions for future listening.

A typical Pure Data patch
A typical Pure Data patch

Most exciting for burgeoning coders is the opportunity to create and submit your own scenes to be featured in future RjDj releases. The scenes are coded in an open source programming environment called Pure Data (PD). The really special thing about PD is that, unlike traditional text-based coding, it’s a visual modular language, meaning that creating a scene is somewhat like building a fairly complicated Lego model out of very sophisticated bricks. To the beginner it would take practice, but it’s certainly achievable (and a fun starting point leading to more advanced coding). If PD tickles your creative fancy, you can download it for free, right now.

With RjDj, you really get out of it what you put in — the packaged scenes seem to be most effective wandering around a city and hearing different sounds swirl about your ears, re-jigged by this smart little app.  Effectively, RjDj is something incredibly clever masquearading as a bit of fun. And while it is indeed bags and bags of fun, if Reality Jockey develop the concept carefully, RjDj will become an effective sub-platform for distributing some of the most exciting experiences available on the iPhone.

Two versions of the app are available for download now: RjDj Single (free) and RjDj Album ($2.99), the latter of which features six different ‘scenes’ while the former is a one scene freebie.

Reality Jockey’s iPhone app certainly makes for weird listening, if you do download it leave a comment below describing your RjDj experiences.

6 Responses to “Experience Sonic Sensations With RjDj for iPhone”

  1. Hey Phillip,

    I had a quick browse of the RJDJ site, actually there only seems to be a couple of posts about this problem. Nevertheless, a problem is worrying – even for a minority of users.

    I foudn this solution posted by another RjDj user. Try it out at your own risk:

    1) Deleting RjDj application from iTunes 2) Delete RjDj application from iPhone 3) Reset iPhone. To do this, hold the sleep/wake button and Home buttons until the white Apple logo appears, signifying a reset well done. 4) Quit and restart iTunes 5) Reload RjDj application in iTunes 5) Connect iphone to computer and “Sync” iPhone.

  2. The developers video demo shows many more setups than the handful that come in the “album”, I hope new set ups are easily added, perhaps as free upgrades. (or its gadget arm) sold the concept pretty well.

    I think the video demo must use the record feature to make the sound available for the video soundtrack, although it could be split out some other way.

    I’ve been experimenting with letting one of the headphones feed back into the mic, and would be really curious to see how it effects someone elses noise making behavior.

    I’m more excited about it now that I’ve heard there is a simple way of creating the setups, if only they will be easy to add in. One badly wants to be able to tweak some parameters, make things less random.